What are best practices for giving a presentation online?
Before Your Presentation
- Set-up your online presentation room. Decide on the structure of your presentation well in advance and set-up your online meeting space to facilitate that structure.
- Test out the technology. If you are using settings and features that are new to you, log into your presentation space at least a few days in advance and practice using all of the features that you would like to use in your presentation. On the day of your presentation, login at least 30-60 minutes in advance to test your internet connection and that your audio and video are working properly, and that the features you practiced before are still working for you. All of this testing will help you to become more confident using the technology and give you time to troubleshoot anything that may not be working properly.
- Set-up your physical presentation space. Do a test run of your presentation, paying attention to your physical space.
- Background - What can people see behind you? Check that your background is not distracting from your presentation and is not showing anything that you don't want on camera.
- Camera Frame - Is your face in the center of the screen? Decide if you will be sitting or standing during your presentation and check the placement of your camera; you may need to adjust the height of your camera to get the right frame of your face.
- Lighting - Can your audience see you clearly? Can you see the screen without a glare? Having natural light nearby is great where possible. Test out the best way to place any nearby lamps to limit shadows on your face.
- Audio - Can your audience hear you clearly from your position? Once you have made your other adjustments, test how clear your audio comes through from your presentation position.
During Your Presentation
- Set ground rules. Let participants know what to expect in your session, how they can interact with you and the group, and how to get help if they have questions.
- Demonstrate. Take some time at the beginning of your presentation to give instructions for how to use the features you want participants to use. For example, if you want your participants to use the raise hand function in Zoom when they have a question, show them how to use this function.
Zoom Features for Setting-Up Your Online Presentation
- Meeting Settings - There are a number of features you can turn on/off when setting up your meeting link depending on your needs, including registration, recording, and enabling/disabling features that participants have access to during your presentation.
- Waiting Room - Enabling a waiting room allows you time to finish setting-up your presentation privately and and let the participants in when you are ready to welcome them. You can send an initial greeting to your participants by sending a message to the waiting room.
- Video Enhancements - Zoom has some built in features to help you create the background (virtual backgrounds), lighting (adjust for low light), and appearance (touch up my appearance) that you would like during your online presentation.
How can I use Zoom to interact with participants?
- Participant Settings - As the meeting host, you can control how participants can interact (if they can turn on video and microphone, how chat can be used, who can screen share, whether they are allowed to use annotation or share files, etc.) Think about how you want participants to interact with you and with each other before you set-up the meeting and adjust the settings to only turn on the tools that you want to use.
- Nonverbal Feedback During Meetings - Zoom has a number of nonverbal features you can choose from if you want to use them including, raise your hand, thumbs up, applause, speed up, and slow down. These tools allow participants to give feedback to the host without using chat or their microphone. If you do use these features, make sure that you have practiced how to keep an eye on them while presenting, or have a co-host assigned to this task while you are speaking.
- Chat - You can use the chat feature to speak with everyone in the group or to send a private message to another participant.
- Screen share - Share your screen to show everything on your computer, a particular file, or even an interactive whiteboard. Remember to turn on the sound sharing option if you want to include audio.
- Annotation - Allows participants to write, draw, and add stamps to the whiteboard or to a file that is being shared.
- File sharing - Upload a file from your computer, or share a collaborative file from Google Drive or One Drive that you can edit together.
- Breakout Rooms - Breakout rooms are used to facilitate small group discussion and/or multiple activities running simultaneously. As the host, you can set up breakout groups randomly or assign people to specific rooms. This feature is great for giving participants an opportunity to discuss a topic more in depth and/or to build connections with other participants.
Where can I find more help with presentation skills?
Workshops & Appointments (Registration Required)
- Presentation Skills - Learning Skills Services Workshop
- Peer Academic Coaching - Learning Skills Services 1:1 Appointment
English as a Second/Additional Language Presentation Supports (Registration Required)
- ESL Tutorial Session - 1:1 session where you work with an ESL OLC tutor to improve your individual English language and/or academic communication skills
- ESL Presentation Practice - Small group session where students can bring their presentation assignments for extra help with research, outlining, organization and delivery practice
Resources to Explore on Your Own
- Learning Skill Services Resources for Success - Presentation skills tips and resources
- Video Interviews - Do you have an upcoming job interview over video? The Career Centre has some tips and resources to help you present your best self.